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GOAL: The best quality in the world, without any doubt !
Erosion of Education Quality &
PAGE 2 - EDUCATION DOCUMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
[or, return to page 1, MAIN PAGE of EDUCATION REPORT ]
Acknowledgment: Dr. Walter Williams,
Chairman, Department of Economics, George Mason University, said about this presentation:
"It's very good and informative. I shall keep it as a handy reference. Best wishes,
keep up the good work whilst keeping the faith."
INDEX OF ITEMS ON THIS PAGE:
- "I can assure you these are facts", Bill
Mechlenburg - problem summary, plus productivity data table on spending and test
- A negative correlation between educational achievement and
expenditures, Dr. Walter Williams. Department of Economics, George Mason
- Teachers Choose Private Schools - 35 years
decline by Milton Friedman, The Philadelphia Daily News 2/14/96
- Competition can help reform our schools, reporting on Chrysler
Corporation President Robert Lutz, by Cal Thomas
- What Does Private Schooling Cost? Less than public schools, Cato Institute Study
- Education Around the World, U.S. & News Reports
- Don't Blame Johnny - Apologists insist
scores down because fraction of students taking the test is up. That's WRONG!- by E
Rubenstein, National Review
- Inflated Grading Standards & Social Promotions Short-change
parents and students - teachers & professors report this is the norm. by M. Hodges *
- Poll: Voters consider public schools Mediocre or a Failure (March
1997, Florida) - 67% cite low academic standards - 58% lax discipline - 47% incompetent
teachers - 33% bad principals - 75% favor eliminating teacher tenure.
- Home-schoolers consistently out-score others regardless of
race or economic background (stay-at-home parenting).
- Potential solutions and Actions by Bill
- Recommendations to school boards -
- by author-researcher Michael Hodges.
LINKS TO OTHER KEY PAGES and SITES:
International Education Report - foreign nations more intense developing math
& science - high % of college math & science graduates U.S. universities are
foreign students. OECD claims 'U.S. primary & secondary schools mediocre at best.' *
Evaluation Report - new evaluation summary 11/96 - DOE Secretary concerned - awaiting raw data *
College Standards Report - 81%
reduce admission & achievement standards, fewer classroom days, compared to prior
generations - - freshmen needing remedial courses escallate.*
Comments by Teachers,
Students, Parents - about U.S. public education problems and quality - - getting worse, not better *
Parental Choice & Vouchers -
not a 'rich-kid' gimmick - minorities want it - with good reason *
Centralized Power & Control
- half all revenues outside control of parents & local school boards*
Error-laden textbooks - - called
unacceptable by experts, and honors science books of less value than simple readers during
Unions - the problem of
union power in our school system*
Grandfather Education Report -
main page *
GO To HOME Page of
the GRANDFATHER ECONOMIC REPORTS* - a collection of reports of economic conditions
facing young families and their children, compared to prior generations*
An Interview with Milton
Friedman - a Nobel laureate - Spring 1996 - on education quality and
Low Achievement, High
Satisfaction - grading practices give parents wrong impression
Happy Talkers Are Wrong; Achievement Has
Declined - a restructuring of the test
The True National Education
Association - a research report of NEA stance on issue, by Michael Patterson
Summary Statistics from DOE source -
CER statistics on spending, salaries, enrollment, etc.
(* denotes a part of the Grandfather Economic Report series)
IMPORTANT ARTICLES ON EDUCATION
I can assure you that
these are facts
about our educational system
- Despite astronomical increases in spending, educational attainment levels have declined
and are nothing short of criminal, especially in most of our large inner cities including
our Nation's Capitol. Our graduation rate statistics are meaningless because we have been
graduating students from high school with grade school attainment levels. [Twelve years of
schooling is not twelve years of Education]
- The problem IS NOT insufficient money. It might even
be too much money! Bigger schools do not improve education.
- Instead of improving the system we have been dumbing down the requirements! Remedial
education courses at our colleges and universities have been skyrocketing, because our
secondary schools have failed to prepare students for college and the real world of work
- Our public school monopoly controlled by the teacher unions and the educational
bureaucracy are inhibiting real improvement.
- Evidently our President is convinced that our public schools are failing our youth and
that the current education establishment is incompetent and will not fix the problem. His
solution is to recruit one million volunteers to teach 3rd grade students how
to read. Imagine bringing in volunteers to teach that which the education system has
already been paid handsomely to do! This is a full admission that the public school system
is completely broken, not from lack of money, but from incompetence and lack of
- Private schools, even in the big city ghettos, are providing better education at one
half to one third the cost of the public school system.
- The major difference between public and private schools is the systems motivation and
incentives. The public schools client/customer is the education system's bureaucracy.
Public schools are designed and run to satisfy this establishment - not the parents. The
private schools client/customer is the parents and everything is designed to satisfy them
in order to attract students. Real competition with each other to provide high quality at
a competitive cost.
- The real solution to our education problem is to introduce parental choice and
competition. Until this is done we're going to keep on just satisfying the educational
establishment by allowing them to waste more money without getting performance in return.
Many parents know the above statements are true. The system must be revised to
provide for full parental choice and responsibility of parents for obtaining the best
education possible for their children. The current situation is
wasting our nation's resources, and more
important it is cheating our children out of a world-class
education and placing the nation's future at risk.
to the above, the table at the left contains data on inflation-adjusted spending per
student (in 1993 dollars) and SAT scores, 1960-1994. Column #1 shows per student spending,
adjusted for inflation, increased more than three times, while SAT scores fell (column
#2). The last column represents an index for Education Productivity, which relates SAT
output per dollar of real spending per student, with 1960 set for 100. The comparable
productivity score for 1994 is 29% - - meaning, the Productivity Index fell 71% in the
past 34 years. The fact that SAT scores fell, as real spending per student soared
upward, is a true tragedy of U.S. education.
UPDATING: April 1997. It would be brought up to date further to include 1995, except
for two problems with the base data: the Education Statistical Digest for 1996 spending
has certain errors when correcting for inflation adjustments; and, since the SAT test
series was revised it does not therefore provide an 'apples and apples' relationship to
prior years. (author note: another, newer test series, called NAEP tests are of no
value to parents since all students are not tested and no individual report goes to
student's parent. With former SAT scores, students and their parents knew where they
stood, compared to those taking the same test in prior years.)
What does private education
cost? Less than you might think, Cato study finds
Source: The Cato Institute March 26, 1996
A school voucher for $3,000 per student per year would give more families the option of sending their children to non government
schools, according to a new Cato Institute study.
In "What Would a School Voucher Buy? The Real Cost of Private Schools",
analysts David Boaz, executive vice president of Cato, and R. Morris Barrett, a writer in
New York, report that 67 percent of all private elementary and secondary schools charge
$2,500 or less for tuition, while average public school per pupil expenditures are $6,857.
"A program of vouchers or tax credits, with a figure of $3,000 or so per student,
will give families the clout to bring about a revolution in education," the authors
conclude. "Schools will compete, expand, innovate, and proliferate. We know that
affordable, high-quality private schools are out there. Why do we not
give all children access to them?"
The Cato study examined costs of private schools in four cities of different sizes and
income levels in different regions and concludes that in the 1994-95 school year, each
city contained many private schools that charged $3,000 or less.
Education around the world
US News & World Report, April 1, 1996
High school students in Japan, France, Germany spend more than twice as many hours
studying math, history and science as US students. In these countries about half of all
students take advanced examinations: a third pass. Only 6.6% of US students take advanced
placement exams and 4.4% pass.
Average days in school: Japan 240 ,Korea 222,Taiwan 222, Israel 215, US 178. In
addition, their school days tend to be longer, they assign more homework and apply more
discipline in the classroom. [editor note: These items alone place U.S. youth at a
significant competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace].
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Were you surprised when, on 20 February 1997, ABC-TV Evening News
reported U.S. 8th graders scored behind 27 other nations in math? The quality gap
is real, compared to foreign nations today, and to prior generations at home. (for a
picture status of the international situation, see the Grandfather International Education
Dr. Walter Williams,
Chairman - Dept. of Economics - George Mason University
In 1983, the President's Commission on Excellence in Education published it's
"Nation At risk" report.,
There is a strong case for a negative correlation between
educational achievement and expenditures. In 1991, Iowa, Arizona, and Utah's
were respectively, $4,344, $3276 and $2,629. Average SAT scores were respectively, 1093,
1005 and 1031. New York, New Jersey and Washington, DC respectively spend $7550, $7795 and
$7550. Their respective SAT scores were 881, 885 and 840
Dr. Milton Friedman by
The Philadelphia Daily News 2/14/96, by W. Russell G. Byers:
- Friedman doesn't merely argue for giving parents a choice. He makes it clear that
breaking up the government public school monopoly should be a compelling issue for anyone
who believes in the free market system.
- ``The quality of schooling is far worse today than it was in
1955,'' when he first proposed vouchers, the Nobel laureate wrote in the
Washington Post last year. ``There is no respect in which inhabitants of a low-income
neighborhood are so disadvantaged as in the kind of schooling they can get for their
- He admits that moving to vouchers will be challenging.
``The problem is how to get from here to there. Vouchers are not an end in themselves.
They are a means to make a transition from a government to a market system.''
- With Friedman's approach, everyone gets the option to escape from what he describes as
``so-called public schools, which are really not public at all but simply private fiefs primarily of the
administrators and union officials.'' Hall's approach would continue to trap
the poorest of the poor in those fiefdoms. It's easy to understand why Hornbeck and the
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers oppose such thinking. After all, it would place their
monopoly at risk.
- Even teachers escape in droves.
``In Philadelphia, 50 percent of higher-income white public school teachers and 46.6
percent of blacks'' choose private schools, (other examples---in Boston, 44.6% of public
school teachers enroll their children in private schools. In San Francisco, it's 36.7%,
Cleveland's at 39.7% and in Chicago, 36.3%), according to a study of the 1990 census by
analyst and author Denis P. Doyle.
- ``The dismal conclusion one must draw,'' writes Doyle, ``is that urban public schools --
as systems -- are about as popular as workhouses in the 19th century or county hospitals
in the 20th. By and large people use them because they must, not because they prefer them
to the alternative.''
Competition can help reform
Chrysler Corporation President Robert Lutz
[Article by Cal Thomas, a syndicated columnist]
- Once during the Middle Ages disgruntled students at the Sorbonne advanced to the
lectern, stabbed their professor to death with their quill pens and wrote out their
grievances with his blood. Now that's real education reform!
- Chrysler Corporation President Robert Lutz also wants reform, though less radical than
the Sorbonne affair. In a speech to the governor's 'education summit" in Michigan,
Lutz said it is time to stop fooling ourselves about government schools. They are not doing the job the taxpayers are paying for and are unlikely to improve unless education follows the example of
business and engages in competition.
- Standardized tests in Michigan show 40 percent of
fourth-graders failed to get acceptable scores. Unsatisfactory achievement in math was recorded among many of
the state's seventh graders. To his credit, Lutz is participating in forming the Alliance
for Children's Education, which will send volunteers into Michigan schools in an effort to
- A reality check
- But in his speech, he said that tutoring is not enough. Just as the goal of auto-making
is to produce good cars at competitive prices, so, too, is the goal of education to
produce people with the knowledge and skills to succeed in an increasingly
competitive world. Does it make sense, he wondered, that virtually everything
else, including the once-monopolistic phone company, is competitive and our public schools
- Lutz charged that education requirements have been "dumbed
down" so as not to injure students' self-esteem. How's this for a reality
check concerning outcome-based education, watered-down curricula and grading techniques
which is the rage in some circles:
- "There's no such thing as 'outcome-based competition to
make sure nobody's feelings get hurt. The real world
is not a padded romper room at McDonald's. It has edges to it." . No, Lutz
said, teachers are not responsible for social problems that can undermine students'
abilities to perform in school.
- Usually, he said, critics of government education are told they judge U.S. teachers
unfairly, especially when being compared to other nations' educational systems. Lutz
replied that fairness has nothing to do with it.
Speaking of Detroit's recent past, Lutz noted, "The cars coming out of foreign
factories were better than ours. The customers are only interested in the end product not the problems that we have producing it or the
advantages our competitors enjoy that we don't."
- The union monopoly
- To those who claim school choice would irreparably harm public schools, Lutz said the
opposite would occur: "Competition won't kill public schools. But in many cases it
will force them to act differently, to adopt different priorities, to make needed changes,
to cut costs where they are wasteful and to devote more resources where they will do more
good, and to become more customer-focused."
- Unruly students? "We've made a big mistake thinking that our public schools should
be warehouses for incorrigible adolescents." No
one should be allowed to stay in school just because he has nowhere else to go but the
street, he argued. Children get self-esteem from success, he said. "I was appalled to
hear that syntax and spelling get in the way of self-expression,
and that protecting a child's self-esteem is more
important than developing his mind." Maybe there's a place for people who sit around feeling good about themselves but can't write a coherent
sentence saying why, but Lutz thinks school is not that place.
- "With competition," he said, "the bad (schools) would change and the good
ones would get even better." He's so right it's beyond argument. If the union
monopoly were broken, everything would improve from the students to the teachers. Isn't it
Cal Thomas is a syndicated columnist.
Don't Blame Johnny
by E Rubenstein, Sept. 26, 1994, National Review
- THIS YEAR'S crop of high-school seniors had the same average SAT scores as last year's
902 out of a possible 1,600. That's the good news. The bad news
is that the modest rebound under way since 1980 has stalled. Apologists
insist that scores are down because the fraction of students taking the test is
up. Perhaps: 42 per cent of seniors took the SAT in 1994, and 43 per cent (a record) last
year. But average scores managed to rise between 1952 and 1963 even as the share of
test-taking seniors exploded from 7 per cent to 30 per cent. Scores fell during the 1970s
although fewer students took the test. Admittedly, minorities now account for 31 per cent
of all test takers, up from 15 per cent as recently as 1976. This should bias scores
downward. On the other hand, the practice of "teaching to
the test" is far more widespread today, as are supplementary preparation
courses. And the test itself was recently overhauled, allegedly to emphasize academic
preparation rather than innate ability. (In March the
College Board tellingly changed the name of the test from Scholastic Aptitude Test to
Scholastic Assessment Test.)
- The quality question dominates discussions of American education. Less widely talked
about is the productivity of the education industry. Spending per pupil, adjusted for
inflation, more than tripled between 1960 and 1994. This implies a productivity decline of
more than two-thirds, even if you assume, charitably, that the quality of educational
output remained consistent. In fact, the official spending
figures are themselves suspect, omitting
key items such as pension contributions, business and foundation donations, teacher
training costs, out of-pocket parental expenses, and the cost of federal programs not
administered by the Department of Education, such as Head Start.
- A comprehensive analysis would undoubtedly find a still sharper productivity plunge.
(and that spending per pupil has probably increased about 400% since 1960) International
comparisons are equally grim. The U.S. spends more per student
than any other G-7 nation, yet in 1991 our 13-year-olds came in last on science and math achievement tests given to virtually all students in those countries. Interestingly,
American 9-year-olds outscored their foreign counterparts on science a test given before
they are taught this subject in school.
- Smaller classes have long been touted as a solution, especially by teachers unions
hungry for jobs. Well, class size, as indicated by the pupil teacher ratio, has dropped by
33 per cent since 1960. Unfortunately, public-school districts also grew much larger
during this period, the result of consolidation aimed at lowering costs. Industrial
workers gain efficiency in larger plants. Teachers don't. One reason: large school
districts hire a disproportionate number of administrators
who never set foot in a classroom but make extra work for teachers who do. Not
surprisingly, 77 per cent of public-school teachers say they spend too much time on
administrative tasks, compared to only 34 per cent of teachers in (generally smaller)
(Catholic schools, according to studies by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. and the
National Catholic Education Association.
- This helps explain why parochial schools, with about
the same ethnic mix and costing one-third less per pupil, outscored
public schools by 37 points on this years SAT.
Lack of Grading &
Measurement Standards Short-change Parents
- M. Hodges
- Item: Does the lack of
clearly-communicated educational standards for
grading Johnny in math cause his parents to be un-informed about how he is really doing, and therefore there is
higher satisfaction of many parents with schools despite low achievement of Johnny - -
which means Johnny gets pushed less by his parents to achieve - - and, Johnny's future is at risk?
- Data: Research indicates that both the number of courses taken and the level of
performance in math impact students' future job prospects and earnings. This is the case
for those who enter college and those who enter the job market. Yet, 86 percent of
eighth-graders (to copy one example) cannot consistently solve math problems typically
taught at the upper elementary school level. Despite this low achievement, a majority
of parents of eighth grade students surveyed for NELS:88 believed that their own child's
school was doing a good job of preparing students for further education. 75 percent of
parents of the lowest achieving students on the math test believed that their
children's schools were doing a good job of preparing students for high school. Parents
have to rely primarily on grades to determine how much their children are learning--and
according to the grades, their children are doing well. Source: Low Achievement, High Satisfaction - DOE
report #ED352206 - - access from links page.
- We can see a clear view of what 'society' believes by looking at poll after poll - - a
ground-swell (as more become aware of hard data) for significantly higher quality and
accountability, than is now the case. Three of the recent polls can be viewed at edchoice.htm#polls
and an example state .
Such shows an explosion in the percentage of the public convinced our pubic schools are
not doing the job.
- Questions: How do parents know if report cards filled with A's & B's mean their
children are learning what they should in the eighth grade (for example)? How do parents
judge whether their children's eighth grade classes are challenging or mediocre
without some clearer achievement standard than now provided? Do others agree with this
situation? Are teachers of math given a clear standard that must be met without
exception to validate an A grade vs. an F
grade, such that parents can tell what is happening? What if anything is being done
about it? What should be done? [we all want Johnny to have a lucky future, but he and his
parents are being short-changed without clear, measurable and openly communicated results
against true standards of performance that equate anywhere].
- We are seeing that 'social promotion' and 'grade inflation' are common
practices in public schools, despite teacher opposition (see teacher comments at education-comments.htm
- HUGE PERCENTAGE OF GRADUATES NEED REMEDIAL WORK: Additional evidence of poor
output quality is the fact that "of the 12 California state university colleges, 60%
of students need remediation; a Florida study shows at least 70% of recent high school
graduates need remedial courses when they enter community college - - in other words, they
need to learn material they should have mastered in public high school - but did not - -
costing an extra $59 million per year." Source: USA Today, pg. 14A, November 24,
1997. That averages out to two-thirds of high school diplomas are bogus - despite
record per student spending! Suppose parents had that data for their own school
district while their kids were still in school? But, do they know how to ask the proper
question. Bottom-line: they need the report. (See remedial course report).
- LACK OF QUALITY MEASUREMENT & REPORTING OF EACH SCHOOL: We have seen the
long-term data showing the dramatic rise in non-teaching employees per 100 students
(chart #4 at http://grandfather-economic-report.com/education-a.htm
), which has exploded inflation-adjusted per student spending. One would expect with all
those non-teaching employees there would be plenty of labor to provide to the school board
(and parents & taxpayers in the district) annual reports which track the school's
various audited quality measurements of the past decades up to today - - and their targets
for each of the next 5 years. But, despite that overhead addition, I challenge others
to be satisfied with the answers if they ask their local school board how they
systematically measure their schools quality performance compared to history. I have yet
to hear of a school board that tracks and publishes to the public long-term data for SATs,
% of graduating students requiring remedial courses, etc. - - vs. inflation-adjusted per
student spending. If a school board member does not have that annual report at his finger
tips (with copies available to the public), or proof that he is looking for a new
superintendent and downsizing non-teaching employees, is that member protecting the public
interest in world class quality and cost effectiveness?
If any reader has information to report on how his or her district is systematically
measuring & reporting audited long-term quality vs. cost trends, and budgeting
productivity improvement in this regard, I would like to hear from them.
- We have seen the 'dumbing down' of SAT standards on the first page of this
education report in the section called : "Are there real actions to
improve, or simply cover-up?" SATs have undergone major changes to make them
less demanding for vocabulary, math and science, instead of finding ways to meet the much
higher scores achieved by past generations with more demanding criteria.
- And, I am most concerned that colleges have reduced standard requirements for required
courses, admission standards and number of classroom days - - to meet the influx of less
qualified students - - as shown in the College Report.
- Michael Hodges email@example.com . The Grandfather Economic Report - home page: An
economic challenge for our youth compared to prior generations: http://grandfather-economic-report.com/
A RESPONSE TO ABOVE:
Mike-This is appalling but not unexpected in a system that has no incentive to excel.
We have union assembly line teachers producing 12 years of schooling to students instead
of an education. They have every incentive to avoid the hassle of being demanding of
students and tough on grading. It's far easier to give everyone a good grade and pass them
on up the line.
This weeks issue of US News & World Report had an article on how computers were
being used to help teach algebra. They were talking about 14 and 15 year old students. As
an example of how the teacher assisted students they mentioned a girl that could not solve
the following problem. A person making ice cones made 50 cents on each cone. She sold 200
cones and had to pay $50 rent. what was her profit? The teacher had to show her how to
solve this problem! This isn't an algebra problem. It's just old fashioned early grade
Industry could not survive without product and performance standards. Why do we
not run our schools with equal effectiveness? I submit that it is because schools are
essentially a monopoly with little or no competition. What you get is the Communist
automobile that was overly expensive and didn't run very well.
What is needed is the ASTM of education that establishes industry wide standards for
each grade level and then annual testing once a year of all students at their grade level.
Testing should be administered by an outside unbiased source to prevent diddling the
results. And the results for each student should be sent to each parent and overall
results for each school should be widely published so parents have objective comparative
data on schools. Don't ask me how to prevent the teacher unions from blocking these
reforms. I wish I knew. Bill (for another input on unions, see Union Report.)
Comments from teachers, professors and students confirm that dumbing down of quality
standards, grade inflation and social promotion are not only the norm, but escalating -
and teachers are much less effective than years ago and they are embarrassed, scared,
and frustrated. (see the Comments
by Others Report
Poll shows Florida
voters consider public schools mediocre or a failure
67% said low academic standards - 58% lax
discipline - 47% say incompetent teachers
75% favor elimination of teacher tenure - 55% for
much smaller school districts with local control
Mason-Dixon Florida Poll - AP, also published in the Sarasota
Herald-Tribune, March 31, 1997 (excerpts from)
Miami - More than half of Florida voters in a new poll (March 21-24, 1997) consider
their county school systems mediocre or a failure, while only one-fifth give schools good
marks. The Mason-Dixon poll found dis-satisfaction running high among the well-educated,
white suburban voters. This is an ominous sign for public education, since well-educated
suburbanites have long provided support for financing, said Bob Joffee, pollster - and
that same group provides much of the crucial swing vote in statewide elections.
Among the key findings: 67% cited low academic standards, 67% overcrowded
classrooms, 58% said lax discipline, 47% cite incompetent teachers, 33% cite
incompetent principals, more than 20% cite incompetent administrators, cronyism and
wasteful spending. 75% favor elimination of teacher tenure, 55% in favor of splitting
large school districts into much smaller ones. Many districts are so large, making local
control of schools a myth.
"In 1998, 70% of Florida's 10th graders scored below the basic
reading level. Only half of our students graduate from high school." (quotes from
June 1999 newsletter by State Representative Mark Ogles to his constituents).
Author note: The results of this poll further confirm the significant degradation in
our education quality, despite years and years of massive inflation-adjusted increases
in per student spending, as shown in The Education Report - and
a 35-year 71% decline in the Education Productivity Index. Meanwhile, the established
education bureaucracy and union try to explain away all responsibility, claiming the tests
need to be revised, plus placing all blame on parents. This a 'criminal' dis-service to
our young - as if such approaches will make the issue disappear. This recent poll sends
one of many loud and clear messages: taxpayers want meaningful corrective action - - and
of a type they accept - which requires a major re-structuring of our primary and secondary
public education delivery system - from one end to the other - - not tinkering at the
edges and more money or rationalizations. They have called the present system "mediocre
and a failure", by a large margin. This 1997 poll of Florida citizens uses the
same word, mediocre, in describing U.S. public schools - - the very same word used
by the respected international Organization of Cooperation and Development (OECD) which
described U.S. schools as mediocre, at best". (see also the Centralized Power Report).
Additionally, its interesting that 47% blame incompetent teachers in the above poll and
75% call for elimination of public school teacher tenures, while so many public school
teachers send their own kids to private school for reasons of quality and discipline,
yet few private schools offer tenure to their teachers. (according to the Philadelphia
Daily News approximately half of its public school teachers send their own kids to private
schools; according to Imprimis April 1997 (Hillsdale College) 53% of Cleveland's public
school teachers do the same thing; in Boston its 49%; in Los Angeles its 39%). Parents
cannot be pleased with the output of quality, as shown by the above poll - - in Florida
42% of the state's students who enter college require remedial education, according to Jeb
Bush, chairman, Foundation for Florida' Future.
Bottom-line: The trend in the level of dissatisfaction with schools is
accelerating, to the point of overwhelming majorities. And, the above poll shows more than
half of Florida's voters are dissatisfied with their public school - - about the same
percentage of public school teachers in the above areas that reject use of public schools
for their own kids.
Signicantly outscore public school students
in SATs, ACTs, spelling & geography bees.
Three times more students are home-schooled than in charter schools,
and growing 11% per year - stay-at-home parenting.
- The growing number of children in the United States that get their education at home is
about 1.2 million - - about the same as the total number of students in the New
Jersey public school system. Most choose home-schooling out of academic frustration with
poor public school quality and discipline problems, religious convictions, or safety
concerns. (source - The Economist, 11 December 1999, pg. 30)
- March 2001. We know home schooled students score higher than the average of any
state's schools. They scored 22.8 in ACT Composite, which is higher than the
highest state, Oregon, at 22.7, and 5 points higher than Washington, DC, at 17.8.
And the best thing of all-- they cost we the taxpayers absolutely nothing, nada, zero. John Knight, 3/20/01 - firstname.lastname@example.org
- August 2001. According to a federal report, at least 850,000 students were learning at
home in 1999; some experts believe the figure is actually twice that. As recently as 1994,
the government estimated the number at just 345,000. True, even the largest estimates
still put the home schooled at only 4% of the total K-12 population - - but that would
mean more kids learn at home than attend all the public schools in Alaska, Delaware,
Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and
Wyoming combined. Totals are increasing about 11% per year. The average SAT score for
home schoolers was 1100, or 80 points higher than public schools in 2000. And a large
study by University of Maryland education researcher Lawrence Rudner showed that the
average home schooler scored in the 75th percentile on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills; the
50th percentile marked the national average. While politicians from Washington on down to
your school board have been warring over charter schools and vouchers in recent years,
home schooling has quietly outpaced both of those more attention-getting reforms (only
half a million kids are in charter schools, and just 65,000 receive vouchers). Many public
schools - and their baleful unions and wretched bureaucrats, their rigid rules and
we-know-best manner - have done a lot to hurt themselves, as some of the most committed
parents leave. According to the Federal Government, up to three-quarters of the families
that home school today say they do so primarily because, like so many of us, they are
worried about the quality of their children's education. A recent report by the state of
Florida found that just a quarter of families in that state practice home schooling for
religious reasons. "The problem is that public schools have abandoned their
mission," says Luigi Manca, a communications professor at Benedictine University in
Lisle, Ill., who home schools his daughter Nora, 17. "They've forgotten about
educating." Time, August 2001, by J. Cloud & J. Morse -
- October 23, 2001. Home-schooled children in Canada and the United States are more
"academically advanced" than their public and private school-educated
peers, according to a noted policy research group. The Washington, D.C.-based National
Center for Policy Analysis citing a Canadian research group's findings last week, said
North American home-schoolers' average test scores were higher "at every
grade level." In the U.S., "home-schooled students' average scores were
between the 82nd and the 92nd percentile in reading and reached the 85th percentile in
math - with home-schoolers' overall test scores placing them between the 75th and 85th
percentiles," the NCPA report said. By contrast, "public school students scored
at the 50th percentile, while private school students' scores ranged from the 65th to the
75th percentile," said the center. In Canada, the results were similar, said the
report, quoting Canada's Frasier Institute, which conducted the study. "The largest
study to date in Canada found that home-schooling students, on average, score at the 80th
percentile in reading, at the 76th percentile in language and at the 79th percentile in
mathematics," said the center. "The Canadian average for all public and
privately educated students is the 50th percentile." Home-schooled students also
surpass the national averages on both of the major college-entrance tests - the ACT and
the SAT," said the Canadian study, as quoted by the center. WorldNet
Daily at http://wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=25031
- June 2002, Washington, D.C. - - National Geographic Society's Geography Bee
winner was Calvin McCarter of Jenison, Michigan - - a home schooled 10-year old;
third place went to another home-schooler. Although homeschoolers represent just 2% of all
students in America, 24% of the 55 geography finalists were home-schooled - - and, 40% of
the final 10, and 57% of the final 7. An estimated 5 million students
participated in the primary stages of the contest, with the top 100 from each state
participating at the next level. http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=27810
- June 2005 - Tied for second place in the recent national spelling contest was
11-year-old Samir Patel, who is home-schooled in Colleyville, Texas.
- In June 2000, the final three finishers in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee
were home-schooled - winner George Thampy of Maryland Heights, Mo., runner-up Sean
Conley of Shakopee, Minn., and third-place finisher Alison Miller of Niskayuna, N.Y. While
the winner's parents said they were proud of his academic achievements, his father said,
"His character is what we are most pleased with." Scripps
Howard News Service per
- William Mechlenburg writes: "A study by the National Home Education Research
Institute indicates that home schooled students scored 85 points versus 50 points for
public schools on standardized national achievement tests. This differential existed
regardless of race or economic status. The scores also were insignificantly different
between home-schoolers from states with high or low regulation of home schooling. I think
the important point here is that essentially a bunch of amateurs in the home out
performed the so called "professionals" in public education." (source - Reason Magazine Aug./Sept 1997).
- On 25 September 1999 the Associated Press reported 'the Daughters of the American
Revolution's outside study last spring showed home-schooled students score well above the
national median on standardized tests and often study above their normal grade level.'
(source - AP via The Bradenton Herald, 9/25/99, page 6).
- July 2006 - a parent speaks out with her answer to poor public school standards and text
books > > home school
Dear Mr. Hodges,
I enjoyed reading your informative website, but I did find it rather disturbing at the
same time. I was most impressed with your stance on how poorly textbooks are written and
proofed (error laden) and how teachers don't seek to teach correct information, but rather
blindly follow the book even if it is wrong. The good news is that there is yet another
option...Homeschool. After dealing with public schools my husband
and I chose the home school option for our sons after the 4th grade. We choose the
textbooks, and we decide what we want to teach. And like you noted, I had a Biology
text fresh off the press and my sons and I could go through and pick out the errors
easily. I am an MD and if I ran across anything that didn't appear correct, I had no
difficulty expressing that to my sons. They have learned that I don't know
everything, but I am willing to find out the answer. They have also learned that the
books aren't always correct. They have learned to ask questions and not be afraid to
challenge the status quo. They are bright with SAT and ACT scores well above their
peers in public schools. In fact, that was part of the problem with the public
school. The system couldn't challenge them, and my sons were vocal about that
fact. One child actually read every book in the elementary library by the 4th
grade. They didn't know what to do with him, but they refused to move him up to the
6th grade. We finally took them all out and they were so happy and have studied more
interesting subjects than I ever had available when I was in school. They know more
about Greek and Roman history than most high school teachers. The two older
boys were taught pre-calculus by their father who is an electrical
engineer, and he ripped the textbook apart each time he found an error. In closing, I
agree 100% with you, but rather than fight a system that nearly destroyed my sons, I chose
to bring them home and educate them myself. It is a decision that my husband
and I will never regret. Sincerely, Caroline McGee, MD - email@example.com - July 2006
(also see the section on Textbooks)
Solutions to Education System Problems, and Actions
By Bill Mechlenburg
First: we must make certain assumptions based on objective data.
Our present public school system, despite escalating spending per student, has
seen declining and intolerable educational attainment.
All enterprises work to satisfy their client/customers. The basic incentives, in public
education, to improved performance are wrong. The public school client/customer is the
In private schools the client/customer is the parent and this is why private schools
out perform public schools. Because public school students are assigned by the school
system to their schools their is no competition to satisfy the client/customer, the
We know from experience in the private economy that free market competition
drives costs down and quality up. We need to create a market driven educational system
with the emphasis on improving the quality of education. To accomplish this, parents must
have free choice on where to send their children to school including vouchers so that they
will have the financial where with all to actually exercise this free choice.
Secondly parents must have available to them, objective data on the quality and
performance of all schools so they can make an informed choice.
To accomplish this we need to do the following:
Close down the Federal Dept. of Education and discontinue all federal
regulatory involvement in education. Send the money back to the local communities via a
tax reduction equivalent to the cost of this department - about $35 billion dollars.
Encourage states to establish free competition in their educational system via the
following or some similar system that provides parental choice and competition:
- Change all public schools to a paid tuition system instead of free.
- Provide tuition vouchers to all students equal to present average cost per student in
the local area. Permit all parents to send their children to the school of their choice,
private or public, using these vouchers.
- The Governors Association should establish an Educational Assessment Board to establish
standard Educational Attainment tests for each grade level - one through 12. These tests,
administered annually will permit parents to objectively evaluate each schools performance
against all others.
Because 85% of private schools have some religious affiliation and are also the most
effective educators it is necessary to permit the use of vouchers at the schools under the
provision they not be used for religious education or functions.
Can vouchers be used to pay for education at schools operated by religious
organizations? Of course they can. The first amendment to the Constitution states
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting
the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, etc."
Vouchers do not do anything "respecting the establishment of religion" . Pell
grants, student loans and other government grants go to religious Colleges and
Universities with no constitutional problems. This will effectively set up free market
competition between the schools and make them compete for students. The competition would
be weighted in favor of quality of education versus cost, which is as it should be.
Like all things in this world, nothing is perfect. Special classes and vouchers will
have to be provided at higher voucher cost for the learning impaired but this is needed
under the present system. Students of normal or high learning ability should not be held
back by others who cannot keep up. It is ridiculous and an unconscionable waste of talent
to lower our whole educational system to the lowest common denominator.
There will be some schools which have low cost and good performance that will get a
flood of students and their large profits will permit them to build new facilities and
expand to meet the demand. Other high cost schools or schools of low quality will not make
a profit and will need to either shape up (the most likely scenario), cut back , merge
with a better school system or close down. Just like in the private economy, over time,
high performing schools will thrive and grow and poor performing schools will wither and
disappear. This competition will work to constantly upgrade the quality of our educational
There may be other ways to solve this problem but it is critical that they contain the
following minimum requirements:
- Competition between schools is critical to success. Full parental choice is critical to
obtaining this competition. Real and effective school choice requires that parents have
vouchers that permit them to send their children to the best schools available - public or
- Each school must have maximum freedom to make decisions on how their school will be
operated. Government regulation must be kept to an absolute minimum. All federal
regulation should be eliminated. State regulation should be minimized in favor of local
regulation and this held to an absolute minimum.
- There must be standard objective (quality measures) data available on the performance of
all schools and this data must be available to the public so parents can make informed
choices. And, the standard tests to produce said data should also include examination type
items from the best foreign schools - - to help assure proper attention to global
As long as these minimum requirements are met the details of the system are secondary.
from research-author Michael Hodges
STOP ALL SOCIAL PROMOTION AND GRADE INFLATION
- ESTABLISH TEST STANDARDS FOR TEACHERS & STUDENTS
- AIM TOWARD WORLD-CLASS QUALITY COMPARED TO OTHER NATIONS
- LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS SHOULD HAVE 100% CONTROL
- FEDERAL & STATE GOVERNMENT OUT OF THE PICTURE,
except reporting collective results by district
From my years of extensive research, compiled in the Education Report series - - the
following recommendations are offered to produce a world-class education quality system in
America - - one that can top all other nations, instead of sadly lagging most others as
- Expose the public system to free-market competition and accountability with all public
AND private schools.
- Social Promotion & grade inflation practices must stop, and strict local-established
teaching testing and class testing standards must be established by all school boards.
Elimination of social promotion means no one should be passed to the next grade until
clear standards have been met - - if summer school does not result in failed students
making up the deficiency, the grade MUST BE REPEATED.
- Each school district must annually report in writing to all parents that the district's
current and past 20 year SAT scores for reading and math, its performance on all other
standardized tests at each grade, plus results of international test series for
math & science comparing same with all major industrialized foreign nations and the
- Except for special needs students and those in grades lower than the 2nd grade - -
teacher quality is far more important than smaller class size.
- Since most textbooks for math, science
and history are unacceptably error-laden, and the contents and teaching methods are also
unacceptable and dangerous, as proven again by most recent studies, texts must be written
by recognized authors and the contents and methods must deviate little (except by massive
proof otherwise) from successful texts and methods employed prior to the 1960s.
- Parents MUST be notified annually in writing where their children stand vs. clearly
established math & reading standards for each grade K-12 for all standardized tests,
SATs and international test score comparison, and the scores of the teachers of their
children vs. clear testing standards.
- Further, school boards must track percentage their graduates who require remedial courses in
college and corrective action taken at the local level to eliminate such need in the
future - - and, colleges and universities should charge all costs of remedial education to
the high school district graduating the student.
- Decommission public tax funding of schools in non-compliance. Additionally, evaluate
eliminating any funding control by federal and state education departments, allowing such
funds collected at these levels to flow directly to local school districts without a
single restriction on their use by local school boards.
- It is preferable that local school boards are both 100% elected at the local level, and
that they never contract with a national union. It must remain local in full.
- It is the firm belief of this author-researcher that the more involved federal
government and state government are in the funding and regulatory control of local school
boards, and the larger the size
of each school district, the more the total system is of a socialized-centralized
and monopoly nature. Monopolies by nature always produce the worse outcome regarding
world-class quality for anything - - including a higher cost to achieve same. Any
centralized and monopolistic education system, considering America's culture today,
produces the same result, which makes it imperative in America that we operate a
decentralized education system in all aspects - - and the sooner the better for our
children. Federal & state government should only be involved in assisting the
no-strings funding for poor school districts - - and in publishing nationwide standardized
U.S. and international test results for each school district. Where and when will the
political will shall come to allow such?
(Email - you may contact Mr. Hodges
FOR ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS SEE THE COLLEGE REPORT, as they
impact secondary schools.
- [For additional recommendations involving the hammer lock the educational establishment
and teacher unions have on our educational system, see the two (2) reports: Unions and
Bureaucracy -and Centralized Power - primary impediments to school quality and
parental responsibility. AND, clear comments by an esteemed Nobel Laureate, read An Interview
with Milton Friedman - Spring 1996 - on education quality and solutions.]
If you are as concerned for our youth as we then
perhaps if you notify others of this web-site, plus print these pages and deliver to your
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Home page web site address of the Grandfather Education Report is: http://grandfather-economic-report.com/education.htm
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